One of the reasons we included Nelson on our New Zealand itinerary was to visit the workshop of Jens Hansen, a must for any true fan of The Lord of the Rings.
Danish-born Jens moved to Auckland in 1952 and, after completing a jewellers apprenticeship, settled in Nelson with his wife and young son in 1968. He knew and loved The Lord of the Rings and was thrilled when approached, in March 1999, to design the fabled ring. Fifteen prototypes were submitted from which the final ‘movie ring’ was chosen. Forty variations of The One Ring were made for the filming, scaled for different scenes and sized to fit Hobbit or human fingers. Then there is the 8” version seen spinning and turning through the air in the prologue of the first film.
Sadly, Jens was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and died in August the same year at the age of 59, never seeing his rings on screen. His legacy continues under the guidance of his sons and a remarkable team at the workshop.
Having made a very special purchase, we drove a few minutes out of town to the Grand Mercure Monaco Resort, our home for the next two nights.
Reminiscent of an English countryside village, the resort offers a range of accommodation from self-contained two bedroom cottages
to boutique hotel rooms. We had a stunning view of the Monaco Peninsula.
The guest lounge was cosy and comfortable
and we enjoyed a delicious dinner, as well as breakfasts, at the restaurant.
The grounds have been set up beautifully, with a peaceful lake enticing a variety of birdlife.
A short stroll down the road, The Honest Lawyer, exuding the charm of an English country pub, was the perfect spot to imbibe a pint of Guinness in the afternoon sun.
Perusing the menu, we decided to stay for dinner before a slow walk home as the sun was setting in spectacular fashion.
The next morning dawned crisp and clear, another day of adventures awaited.